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Russia says Bashneft sale back on, Rosneft may step in

Staff Writer |
Russia said that it was resuming the previously shelved privatization of mid-size oil firm Bashneft.

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The budget deficit is widening because of an economic slowdown.
First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told journalists on the sidelines of a business forum in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi the government will also soon start preparations for the sale of the state's 19.5-percent stake in Rosneft.

Both firms had been part of a broader privatization drive for 2016 announced nearly a year ago, with the aim of plugging holes in the state budget. The budget deficit is widening because of an economic slowdown and Western sanctions.

Yet in a surprise move in August the government decided to shelve the privatization of the state's 50.8 percent stake in Bashneft.

"After further study of the Rosneft and Bashneft privatization issue by the government, and after a presentation to President (Vladimir Putin), it was decided to resume the preparations for selling a controlling stake in Bashneft and immediately proceed to prepare of selling a 19.5-percent stake in Rosneft," Shuvalov said.

On the Bashneft sale, Shuvalov said: "Rosneft will not be prevented from participating."

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